Chinese commodities trader CITIC Resources Holding said on Wednesday that more than 100,000 tons of alumina stored at Qingdao port was missing, deepening fears that firms exposed to a metals financing scam at the port could face big losses.
The Chinese port, the world's seventh busiest, has been at the centre of an investigation looking at whether a private metals trading firm issued multiple warehouse receipts so that the same metal cargo could be used multiple times to obtain financing.
The alumina CITIC had been unable to secure has a value of around $43 million based on current market prices.
The probe has rattled global metals markets, reflecting market fears about business practices in China and worries that the probe could extend to other ports and prompt a crackdown on using metal as collateral for finance.
"The company has been notified that in the enforcement of the sequestration orders obtained by the group, the Qingdao court has been unable to sequester about 123,446 MT (metric tons) of alumina which the group has stored at Qingdao port," the firm said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
CITIC Resources said it had title to 223,270 tons of alumina and 7,486 tons of copper stored at the port pending payment by and delivery to buyers.
CITIC Resources is the commodities trading unit of China's biggest and oldest state-owned financial conglomerate company, CITIC Group Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings also holds an 11.46 percent in the unit.